Nostalgia ruled last night as the first part of the ABC’s Countdown  birthday special dominated at 8.35 pm with 1.429 million national viewers, followed by the first of a three part biopic on Cilla Black (1.146 million national viewers) which was excellent, even though the Liverpudlian accents were hard to grasp. Seven won nationally and in the metros (and Seven won 25 to 54s). Nine was second. Ten was third in Total People in the metros, but the ABC was third in the main channels in the metros and in the regions.

Seven’s Sunday Night might have had more viewers (1.703 million national), but as soon as it was finished, viewers abandoned Seven in their hundreds of thousands by the time the weak reality series The Big Adventure (aka The Massive Flop, with 779,000 national viewers last night) started at 8.30pm. The ABC’s journey back to the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s even dominated the One Day cricket from Perth, which shouldn’t have been that surprising given the way Australia folded in its batting innings. Even so, the first session had 1.192 million national viewers and the second session (night) had a decent 1.243 million people watching.

In its own way Countdown had as big an impact on Australian social and cultural life as anything else did from the 1970’s onwards. And those three million or more viewers who tuned in each week ruined the commercial network’s early Sunday nights. Countdown was a program that didn’t need social media to flourish. The commercial media fed off it year after year and those bright and clever folk at Nine, Ten and Seven couldn’t stop it or match it, no matter how hard they tried. The only commercial program that came near was Nine’s version of 60 Minutes which kicked off in mid 1978 and started attracting huge ratings. But it wasn’t original — 60 Minutes had started in the US a decade earlier. Countdown was Australian made and devised through and through. It was live, which made it dangerous (commercial network managements couldn’t have handled it), unpredictable, but great TV. Mix Molly with the music and  you sometimes got disaster, you sometimes struck gold.

Julia Zemiro did a great job hosting and the producers knew that the clips told the story more than the voiceover, and the interviews with the likes of Rod Stewart. By the way, Kiwi friends of mine say Countdown, which was screened across the Tasman on the Saturday following its Sunday broadcast in Australia, had as big an impact over the ditch, as it did in Australia, especially on the Kiwi music scene. That impact was left out last night.

Network channel share:

  1. Seven (28.1%)
  2. Nine (26.7%)
  3. Ten (19.9%)
  4. ABC (19.2%)
  5. SBS (6.0%)

Network main channels:

  1. Seven (19.2%)
  2. Nine (17.6%)
  3. ABC (14.1%)
  4. Ten (12.2%)
  5. SBS ONE (4.5%)

Top digital channels: 

  1. GO  (6.1%)
  2. 7TWO (4.8%)
  3. 7mate, ONE (4.0%)
  4. Eleven (3.7%)

Top 10 national programs:

  1. Sunday Night (Seven) — 1.703 million
  2. Seven News — 1.612 million
  3. Nine News — 1.557 million
  4. Countdown – Do Yourself A Favour (ABC 1) — 1.429 million
  5. Surveillance Oz (Seven) — 1.408 million
  6. ODI Cricket Aust. v South Africa Session 2 (Nine)  — 1.243 million
  7. ODI Cricket Aust. v South Africa Session 1 (Nine)  — 1.197 million
  8. ABC News — 1.192 million
  9. Cilla (ABC) — 1.146 million
  10. Modern Family (Ten) — 891,000

Top metro programs:

  1. Sunday Night (Seven) — 1.129 million
  2. Seven News 1.127 million
  3. Nine News — 1.088 million 

Losers:  Seven and The Big Adventure. The Bolt Report on Ten. Being a PR outlet for the Abbott Government doesn’t bring ratings success  as we again saw yesterday. Insiders on ABC1 and its middle of the road approach (and old fashioned questioning of both sides of politics, unlike Mr Bolt’s partiality) saw it easily gather far more viewers (533,000 on ABC 1 and News 24), even taking into account Bolt’s 4pm repeat (a total of 308,000).Metro news and current affairs:

  1. Sunday Night (Seven) — 1.129 million
  2. Seven News 1.127 million
  3. Nine News 1.088 million
  4. ABC News 817,000
  5. Ten Eyewitness News 403,000
  6. SBS World News — 153,000

Morning TV:

  1. Insiders (ABC, 251,000, 115,000 on News 24) — 366,000
  2. Weekend Sunrise (Seven) – 318,000
  3. Landline (ABC) — 287,000
  4. Weekend Today (Nine) — 285,000
  5. Financial Review Sunday (Nine) — 178,000
  6. Offsiders (ABC) — 168,000
  7. The Bolt Report (Ten) — 147,000
  8. The Bolt Report repeat (Ten)  — 98,000

Top pay TV channels:

  1. Fox 8  (2.7%)
  2. LifeStyle  (2.3%)
  3. Foxtel Movies Premiere, TVHITS (1.9%)
  4. Fox Sports 2, Foxtel Movies Action (1.8%)

Top five pay TV programs:

  1. Rugby Union Test: France v Australia (Fox Sports 2) – 90,000
  2. Doc Martin (UKTV) – 89,000
  3. The Simpsons (Fox8) – 73,000
  4. The Simpsons (Fox8) – 69,000
  5. The Simpsons (Fox8) – 64,000

*Data © OzTAM Pty Limited 2013. The data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of OzTAM. (All shares on the basis of combined overnight 6pm to midnight all people.) and network reports.

Peter Fray

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